Thermo-Catalytic Reforming (TCR®)

(c) Video courtesy of Fraunhofer UMSICHT


The Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology (UMSICHT) and Susteen Technologies have developed the innovative thermo-catalytic reforming (TCR®) technology for biomass residue and other carbon-rich waste streams.

The TCR® technology is designed to process a wide range of waste or residual biomass including:

  • Agricultural & forestry residue (eg. animal manure, straws and husks, and waste wood)
  • Industrial biomass residues (eg. brewer’s spent grain, oil mill residue, paper sludges, plastics and composite wastes)
  • Municipal organic wastes (e.g. sewage sludge from water treatment plants, organic wastes, plant pruning and composting materials, organic waste fractions from municipal solid waste)


Through a staged process, TCR converts biomass into high quality syngas, biooil, biochar and water

  1. Thermal Drying: Wet biomass is dried to between 70-90% dry matter content through a combination of standard mechanical and thermal drying technology. The TCR technology itself can supply sufficient heat for thermal drying of biomass with 60-70% water content.

  2. Catalytic Pyrolysis: In a first TCR reactor stage biomass is carbonized to biochar at intermediate temperatures (400-500°C) and volatile organic compounds are extracted. Due to our highly innovative catalytic process the production of tars is minimized.

  3. Catalytic Reforming: In the second TCR reactor stage the biochar is heated up to 600-750 °C and brought in contact with the volatile compounds again. Through catalytic functions the organic compounds are cracked to high quality fuel gases and oils. The steam reforming of water and carbon increases the yields of a hydrogen rich syngas. Biochar is cleaned from residual organic toxins producing anthracite quality coal with mineral content depending on feedstock ash content.

  4. Product Treatment: Liquid compounds are condensed and the product syngas is cleaned for particles and aerosols in a simple product treatment stage. Complex hot gas filtering systems are not required due to the absence of tar in the product gases.

  5. Char gasification: The produced char can also be converted to low energy gas for combustion through our optional char gasification module.

The TCR technology produces its own process energy through biochar or syngas combustion and on-site combined heat and power generation.